Nasu Sessho-seki Rock

Nine-tailed Fox turned into dreadful killing rock
Nine-tailed Fox turned into dreadful killing rock

Sessho-seki Rock is a dreadful and famous rock found in a harsh, lonely tract of land known as “the dry riverbed of the Sanzu River” in Tochigi Prefecture’s Nasu-yumoto Hot Spring region.

The story of Sessho-seki Rock has been used in many ways as the topic of traditional Japanese entertainment such as Kabuki and other types of Japanese stage plays.
They are usually always delivered in the manner of the narrative below.

In China and India

The Emperor of the Yin Dynasty’s wife. The queen was the incarnation of an evil fox in China around 1000 B.C. She duped him into misruling his people, and his administration was toppled.

The fox then traveled to India and married the prince’s first wife. She persuaded him to behead thousands of people. But when one of his retainers exposed her, she vanished. In 753, the wicked fox disguised himself as a young girl. And boarded a ship carrying Japanese envoys from Tang to Japan. The ship was the same one on which high-ranking Priest Ganjin was traveling.

In Japan

She waited silently for 360 years after landing in Japan. She was then abandoned as an adorable tiny baby, waiting for someone to discover her, help her, and nurture her. And it occurred quickly. She matured into a woman of beauty, intelligence, and charm.
She began serving at the Imperial Court in ancient Kyoto. At 18 and officially identified herself as “Tamamo-no-Mae.” She contacted Emperor Toba and won his approval. He was smitten by her. Following that, the Emperor got ill, and his health deteriorated. No one could figure out why the Emperor became sick so abruptly.

However, Abe Yasunari, a diviner, eventually discovered her true nature and exposed her (the fox’s) plot to destroy the nation. They fought long before the fox revealed her tails—she had nine—and fled Kyoto.

After a while, word spread that the same nine-tailed fox was kidnapping young ladies and girls in the Nasu area. When the Imperial Court learned of this, it dispatched 80,000 men to Nasu. She fought valiantly, but the army eventually caught her in a dead-end alley. The fox was then shot with an arrow by one of the soldiers.

Injured she morphed into a massive boulder and released a lethal toxin. Any persons or animals that came into contact with the rock were killed by its deadly fumes. Soon, no birds, insects, or plants would be able to exist there.

“The Death Stone of Nasu Moor,” an 1891 woodblock print, depicts Tamamo-no-Mae standing by the mythical “killing stone.”Credit...Yoshitoshi
“The Death Stone of Nasu Moor,” an 1891 woodblock print, depicts Tamamo-no-Mae standing by the mythical “killing stone.”Credit…Yoshitoshi

Toxic gas eliminated from Sessho-seki Rock

Many priests attempted to soothe her rage, but it had no effect on the poison. Finally, Priest Genoh resolved to attack the rock. Before the battle, he cleansed his body and spirit in a hot spring bath.
Then he began chanting a specific sutra and continued earnestly. Tamamo-no-Mae eventually emerged from a cloud of white smoke. And then she vanished, and the rock split into three pieces. Two of them flew away, while one remained. It still produces some poisonous gas, but its toxicity has been reduced.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

error: Content is protected !!
%d bloggers like this: